Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This morning

Scanning the shelves of the Reading Oxfam bookshop & I happen upon a copy of Boundary 2 - the Jack Spicer issue. That's pretty strange. At £4.99 it's a ... what's the phrase? A no brainer.

I add it to the list of surprising finds in this shop - rare books by Olson, H.D., Pound, Philip Whalen ... am I inadvertently buying up someone's library? There's a definite consistency of taste. Yet how to reconcile this theory with my sporadic visits - at least two or three months apart? What soul-searching lies behind the decision to let this or that title go? Not all at once, no, too hard - just a few at a time.

Or is it those Martians playing a little game?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


(A5 exercise book, c. 1968)

Busy cleaning out cupboards, throwing away old papers, finding my childhood lurking in dusty corners.

In the meantime ... what Frank Zappa chose for Castaway's Choice in 1989 (the US version of Desert Island Discs, I assume):
  • Octandre by Edgard Varese
  • The Royal March from L'Histoire du Soldat by Igor Stravinsky
  • The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky
  • Third Piano Concerto, first movement by Bela Bartok. (FZ: ``I think it is one of the most beautiful melodies ever written.'')
  • Stolen Moments by Oliver Nelson
  • Three Hours Past Midnight by Johnny Guitar Watson
  • Can I Come Over Tonight by The Velours (which FZ would save if only allowed one)
  • Bagatelles for String Quartet by Anton Webern
  • Symphony, Opus 21 by Anton Webern

Friday, June 24, 2011

now placed safely in the hands of its rightful owner

more images over at The Sticky Pages site

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


all tempos is right


Q: What do you think your sound is?

Monk: Music


Q: What other interests do you have?

Monk: Life in general

Q: What do you do about it?

Monk: Keep breathing


I never studied.
I just experimented arranging by experience ...
You fool around and listen.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

a f f i c h e / je m'en fiche

see The Sticky Pages Press site for more details

Monday, June 13, 2011






Heard while shaving

"The most valuable piece of real estate is a part of someone's mind"

(advertising executive on Radio 4's Start the Week)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I haven't got round to the Listener's Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 but I did bother to send in my eight.

Should anyone be interested, here they are:

  • Frank Zappa 'Watermelon in Easter Hay' (off Joe's Garage)
  • Beatles 'A Day in the Life' (off Sgt. Pepper)
  • Keith Jarrett The Koln Concert
  • Mahler Symphony no. 5
  • Life Without Buildings 'The Leanover' (off the live album for preference)
  • Syd Barrett 'It Is Obvious' (off Barrett)
  • Miles Davis 'Flamenco Sketches' (off Kind of Blue)
  • Stravinsky 'Petrushka'
& the Zappa would be the if-you-could-choose-only-one item

(so if you've never heard it - do & give your ears a treat)

Normal provisos apply: for any one band/artist there could be another six ... twelve ... tracks; on another day another eight favourites would suggest themselves; are we going by intrinsic musical merit or epiphanic moments or personal/sentimental attachment? Blah-blah-blah.

Why not send your eight via Comments?

(new totem animal)


Ear education:

major listening programme going on as 'research' on Greil Marcus & Harry Smith with potential extension into teaching next year (or is it just a good excuse to go out & buy CDs?)

(further suggestions and recommendations gratefully received)

Bob Dylan
  • Blonde on Blonde
  • World Gone Wrong
  • Modern Times
  • Nashville Skyline
  • John Wesley Harding
  • Self Portrait

Howlin' Wolf Moanin' the Blues

Robert Johnson The Complete Recordings

Sister Rosetta Tharpe Complete Recorded Works 1938-44

Frank Hutchison Volume I 1926-29

Kurt Weill - Mahagonny, The Seven Deadly Sins, Happy End, (all with Lotte Lenya) plus a Harmonia Mundi recording of the Berliner Requiem


Creative filing
Creative arranging
as poetics
as technique
as joyous creation

(Joseph Cornell)


"Now it would be astonishing if what I've just described were on Dylan's mind when he wrote the song. That's not the point. The point is that Dylan's songs can serve as metaphors, enriching our lives, giving us random insight into the myths we carry and the present we live, intensifying what we've known and leading us toward what we never looked for, while at the same time enforcing an emotional strength upon those perceptions by the power of the music that moves with the words. Weberman's way of hearing, or rather seeing, is more logical, more linear, and perhaps even more correct, but it's sterile. Mine is not an answer but a possibility, and I think Dylan's music is about possibilities rather than facts, like a statue that is not an expenditure of city funds but a gateway to a vision."

(from 'Breath Control, 1970-1974', Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus)


There were things under things, as well as things inside things.

(H.D. Tribute to Freud)


found collage 1

found collage 2

found collage 3

found collage 4

found collage 5

found collage 6

found collage 7


"demon-strations of the hermetic critique lockt up in Art"

Jess (quoted by Greil Marcus, The Dustbin of History)


"intersignes, (as Massignon calls them), unusual warnings, coincidences (as historians call them, to avoid them), erratic forms, buried relics, physiognomic marks, constellations latent in the sky of thought."

(Marcus quoting Robert Cantwell, as above)


"Sit in a room and read - and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time. This realization of life can be a constant realization in your living. When you find an author who really grabs you, read everything he has done . Don't say, "Oh, I want to know what So-and-so did" - and don't bother at all with the best-seller list. Just read what this one author has to give you. And then you can go read what he had read. And the world opens up in a way that is consistent with a certain point of view..."

(Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth)


All the tired horses in the sun
How'm I supposed to get any ridin' done?

(Bob Dylan, off Self Portrait)

I listened to this today for the first time - hearing "writing" for "ridin' ".


applemint for new potatoes
spearmint for cooking
peppermint for tea

winter savoury


practising the pronunciation of the students' names for Graduation - some have seven, even eight, others a mere fore- and family name. The names are drawn from a variety of languages - French, Italian, English ... making each an exercise in performance & proununciation - a micro poem of sorts.

A geography of the mouth.


Poor. Old. Tired. Horse.

(from 'Please', Robert Creeley)


"There are certain basic resonances (like in Buddhism) that can be accented - that's what a mantra does: each syllable penetrates a different realm of existence. It's pretty evident in Dylan's work, particularly in concert, that there are held vowels; and the purpose of the intentional holds or holding patterns must be to "hit the pitch co-ordinate" (that's Duncan again). I hear that a lot in Dylan's work - where he finds the word, then begins to bend the vowel until it hits the pitch, until it rings."

(Lisa Jarnot in The Verse Book of Interviews)


(Joseph Campbell)


"He might have been talking Greek. The beautiful tone of his voice had a way of taking an English phrase or sentence out of its context (out of the associated context, you might say, of the whole language) so that, although he was speaking English without a perceptible trace of accent, yet he was speaking a foreign language. The tone of his voice, the singing quality that so subtly permeated the texture of the spoken word, made that spoken word live in another dimension, or take on another colour, as if he had dipped the grey web of conventionally woven thought and with it, conventionally spoken thought, into a vat of brewing - or held a strip of that thought, ripped from the monotonous faded and outworn texture of the language itself, into the bubbling cauldron of his own mind in order to draw it forth dyed blue or scarlet, a new colour to the old grey mesh, a scrap of thought, even a cast-off rag, that would become hereafter a pennant, a standard, a sign again, to indicate a direction or, fluttering aloft on a pole, to lead an army."



Monday, June 06, 2011

A great way to start the week - this volume was waiting in the post room. Part V. Collage has an essay by Stephen Fredman entitled 'Forms of Visionary Collage: Harry Smith and the Poets' making explicit the connections I'd intuited (Duncan ... Jess ... and also Spicer and Ginsberg).

All part of the pattern (as Smith himself might say).

Sunday, June 05, 2011

this weekend

(note the use of Fludd's The Divine Monochord
& the colours for air, water & fire)

Friday, June 03, 2011

There are times when a book finds you out, sort of falls into your hands. And this is one of them.

The librarian was throwing out box loads of old books - withdrawn copies, paperbacks deposited by departing families, musty tomes. In amongst the dross I happened on this. I knew Greil Marcus for his seminal book on Punk but hadn't followed him further. Since Tuesday I've read little else: once straight through, then yesterday with a pencil marking key passages and phrases that just shout off the page. One chapter in particular - The Old Weird America - is stunning and essential. In some ways Dylan is incidental - it's what Marcus throws up around the Basement Tapes (names, ideas, suggestions) that fascinates. I've ordered whatever Harry Smith I can find - VHS, DVD, books.

At first I thought the Marcus book was going to be a diversion - the Duncan H.D. Book is still beside my bed, bookmarked at Chapter Three, and the stacks of H.D. I've amassed and am gradually working through. In fact, Marcus' pages on Smith have only deepened the Duncan/H.D. work - Smith being a figure within the Berkeley 'scene' (and whose visual works demand comparison with Jess) and later moving on to New York and the Chelsea Hotel (its resident Paracelsus) and teaming up with Jonas Mekas.

So one book opens and discloses another ... and another ... and so we go on.

. Driving into work the other morning with 'Village of the Sun' playing & humming & drumming along  & think...